Brought to you by Cultivate’s own BTs, RBTs, and BCBAs
By Madeleine Mengler, M.Ed., RBT
We’ve all needed to make adjustments to our work, school, and socializing over the last six months. One aspect that can be especially challenging is successfully adapting to virtual learning, and we want to help! These tips and tricks were compiled from recommendations from Cultivate employees who have supported or are currently supporting their own children in the virtual learning process.
1. Set rules and expectations ahead of time.
Adjusting to a new learning environment means we sometimes need to adapt and create new rules and expectations. Make sure the expectations from the teacher and yourself for the amount they participate, the way they participate, etc. are all made clear to your child before learning begins. Remind them of these rules frequently (Visuals can help! See below). In some cases, it can be even more effective to create rules and expectations together with your child, so they are even more motivated to follow them.
Check out the link below for a Pinterst board with homeschool rules signs to inspire you!
2. Preparation is key.
Isn’t it always easier to start out the day when everything is set and ready for you and there are fewer decisions to make? Make sure all materials are accessible, devices are charged, and printables are ready to go the night before, or implement that prep into the morning routine. Familiarize yourself with the lessons ahead of time and get specific materials for those activities ready so you will get fewer requests from help from your child throughout the day.
Click on the link below to read more.
3. Structure, structure, structure.
In past years, you likely had some sort of a morning routine to get your children ready to go and out the door. Just because school is taking place at home doesn’t make a consistent morning routine any less important! A consistent wake up time, breakfast time, hygiene routine, and general preparation for the day will help your child transition better to school time and help everyone get their day started on the right foot.
Learn more ways to incorporate visual schedules into your day.
4. Set up your environment for success.
Having a dedicated workspace is so important for working or learning from home, so work time feels like work time and free play is not associated with working. That workspace should be organized, away from areas of high activity and noise in the home and should contain only items intended for use during work time or short breaks during school hours. If you have multiple children, separate cubbies or bins for each child help keep the space manageable. For children who can tolerate headphones, ensuring those headphones have a microphone is recommended. However, be advised that those microphones will pick up other background noise in your home! Make good use of the mute button.
Get inspired with organization ideas with the links below!
5. Give yourself some grace.
You need breaks too! Setting your child up to be able to independently participate in virtual learning as much as possible will help with your workflow around the home, but some of the strategies you try first may not work. Rules may need adjusting, activity order may need to be changed, and some reward systems may not be motivating enough. We are all learning to adapt to the current circumstances, and we must all set reasonable expectations for our children and ourselves, stay flexible, and keep problem solving. We can do it!
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There is no cure-all guidebook for how to navigate our current circumstances; any recommendation may require modification for your family needs and available resources at home. Any semblance of structure and consistency you can implement can help you meet your goals, move through the day, and eventually transition back to in-person schooling.
Our team is here to walk with you through the autism treatment journey. Connect with us to learn more.
Bearss, K., Johnson, C. R., Handen, B. L., Butter, E. M., Lecavalier, L., Smith, T., & Scahill, L. (2018). Parent training for disruptive behavior: the Rubi Autism Network. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press.
Dettmer, S., Simpson, R. L., Myles, B. S., & Ganz, J. B. (2000). The use of visual supports to facilitate transitions of students with autism. Focus on autism and other developmental disabilities, 15(3), 163-169.
Kearney, A. J. (2015). Understanding applied behavior analysis: An introduction to ABA for parents, teachers, and other professionals. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Lequia, J., Machalicek, W., & Rispoli, M. J. (2012). Effects of activity schedules on challenging behavior exhibited in children with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 1(6), 480-492.